Austin Trenum Follow Up

Last year we were privileged to share with you a mothers note about her son and her great loss.  Austin Trenum never returned to the family on that fateful Sunday in November and Michelle, his mother, reached out to The Concussion Blog to share her thoughts.  After a very long road of recovery that included a new concussion policy for the Prince William County school district, authored by Gil Trenum, and a tough decision to donate his brain to Boston University the wait is over for answers.

The Trenum’s have received the answers that they felt from day one;

The CSTE found that Austin had a multifocal axonal injury — structural damage to the brain. Among the areas affected was the portion of the brain that affects judgment and impulse control. The doctors can’t say for sure why Austin killed himself, but there is strong circumstantial evidence.

Having this answer does not change the family’s love of the sport of football, rather it makes them want to share the story even more;

“It was scientific validation for what we knew,” Michelle Trenum said. “But it was an agonizing gift to be given that information because you realize there’s other parents out there that have unanswered questions and they’ve lost loved ones, too. It’s what you do with that. That’s why, with Austin, we would like his legacy to be that other people were helped, that other parents don’t have to go through this, that other teammates realize when a teammate has a traumatic brain injury, they realize it and bring it to the attention of the coach.”

“If it was my son again,” Gil Trenum said, “if he got another concussion, he would be just laying down on the couch.”

You have no idea how strong this family is, after meeting the entire family while at the New Jersey Concussion Summit in July I walked away touched.  Michelle and Gil both have worked hard to prevent what happened to their family to happen to any other.  I am truly glad that they decided to do an interview with the Associated Press about it.

I would hope that all of you out there can take the message from the Trenum’s and learn about the proper management of concussions, especially with adolescents.

2 thoughts on “Austin Trenum Follow Up

  1. Chris Barry September 17, 2011 / 18:27

    Our son Cullan Barry died from suicude May 13 2011. He was a hockey player and had received a concussion on Feb 26, 2011 but he also had been sent to hospital by ambulance December 2009 following an illegal hit in the back that sent him down like a rag doll. They did a CAT scan of his head said it was fine and focused on his knee that had hit the boards. He was off the ice for six weeks with the knee injury but had ongoing migraines. No doctor every told us that ongoing migraines could be tied to a brain injury form the hockey hit, no doctor ever told us to watch for such things. His grades dropped he had difficulty with insomnia with fatigue with concentrating on things like English and math but we kept thinking his migraines were food related. Now I beleive the headaches insomia, fatigue were all related to that big hit injuring his brain and other hits in hockey continuing to injure his head. However doctors assured us CAT scans were fine. In feb the ER docotr did not even come into the room to check him just told the nurse what to do and say. We were given standard do not play for couple weeks and he was released with no discussion of symptoms to look for of ongoing brain trauma. Cullan had a migraine the night he died. I think ER doctors need to be greatly more informed about concussions and parents of athletes need this information about post concussion syndrome, brain injuries caused by multiple impacts over time. My heart really goes out to Austin’s family beacuse we have experienced the same thing and if we could have examined Cullan’s brain I do beleive we would have found a similar injury

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